ISLAMABAD: The ultimatum given by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to Prime Minister Imran Khan to step down before December 31 has passed amid ridicule and ridicule and by government leaders. The opposition alliance, however, has failed to provide reasonable justification for its failure to meet its targets. From day one, skeptics said that the PDM’s ambitious deadlines were set without deep reflection or even consensus within the PDM. The alliance is meant to increase enough pressure on the prime minister to step down at the end of the year or face an intensification of the opposition’s protest campaign. Now it seems that this is a hasty decision and certain PDM parties are in a hurry to achieve their desired goals without the necessary basis.
It is important to look at the stages of the movement that will be unfolded and the preparations being made for its realization if Imran Khan does not resign by the deadline. Forty-seven days ago on December 15, the PDM stated after a summit in Raiwind that if the prime minister does not step down before the deadline, the alliance will announce a timetable for launching a long march in the federal capital on February 1. deliberations are now planned for that day to ascertain the date of the long march. PDM is scheduled to meet on February 4. If all groups resort to this kind of protest, it will probably be held in March. Then there are alliance differences over converting long marches to sit-ins. The PPP is strongly against this move.
The PDM’s second threat as part of its efforts to add pressure on Imran Khan is to resign from the assembly. There is hardly any talk of this option now especially after the PPP has publicly expressed its reluctance. Asif Zardari is known to oppose any move that brings down the system, while PML-N and JUI-F have opposing views, pushing hardliners.
After the PDM was formed at the All Parties Conference organized by the PPP in September, it had a great start and rocked the government with a series of important events including public meetings. However, after the Lahore action, PDM pressure on the government began to ease. Simultaneously, the explosive rhetoric fueled by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also disappeared. During the first few PDM public meetings, Nawaz Sharif delivered his narrative in an uncompromising tone. It has been quite a while since the PDM has organized meaningful and influential activities. Harsh weather was cited as one reason.
However, as a result of this pause, the government feels more confident and secure now. However, despite this pause, it is misleading to say that PDM can be easily removed and dismissed as a non-entity. It remains a powerful force that can confuse the government with a single display of street power.
The alliance suffered setbacks due to differences within its own ranks regarding agitation options to increase its impetus. The government’s success in changing the ECP’s mind to hold a by-election for the seven federal and provincial seats created a difficult situation that created differences within the PDM.
PPP insists on suing, while PML-N and JUI-F have the opposite view. Finally, PML-N and JUI-F must be in line with PPP’s stance. However, it seems paradoxical for the PDM to contest by-election on the one hand and talk about resigning from the assembly on the other.
The PPP recommendation to move a motion of no-confidence against Imran Khan, which has been repeatedly emphasized, is frowned upon by the other two main components of the PDM. The proposal reflects the position of Asif Zardari working within the system in an attempt to outsmart his nemesis.
The reason why PML-N and JUI-F did not make a fuss with PPP over the proposal they did not agree with was to keep the grouping intact despite major hurdles. Not only both parties but the PPP also realized that if the alliance was broken, everyone would suffer and its weight and relevance would be significantly reduced. Despite its objections to certain strategies from PML-N and JUI-F, the PPP also did not want to shake the boat so that the alliance fell apart.
Talk of a vote of no confidence, doubts over the resignation of lawmakers, doubts about the date of the long march, the absence of a major public activity program in the near future and the passing of Imran Khan’s deadline for resigning without success have created a difficult situation for the PDM. For now, the biggest challenge is maintaining consensus and getting all its component parties to remain a force to be reckoned with. It remains an open question to what extent the PDM has succeeded in creating a gap between the prime minister and the rulers, which has been its main objective.